Matthew Theunissen is a business reporter

MP to talk about undeclared gift next week

Williamson has previously said Samsung contacted him through a PR firm to offer him an 'extended trial' of the phone. Photo / NZ Herald
Williamson has previously said Samsung contacted him through a PR firm to offer him an 'extended trial' of the phone. Photo / NZ Herald

Maurice Williamson will meet political expenses watchdog Sir Maarten Wevers next week over a top-of-the-range smartphone he didn't declare.

The Pakuranga MP claims the $899 Samsung Galaxy S4 was a long-term loan and not a gift, which would have to be declared on the register of MPs' pecuniary interests.

Prime Minister John Key and Communications and Technology Minister Amy Adams also received phones — Key got three — but declared them.

Sir Maarten, the Registrar of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests, said Williamson contacted him after the Herald on Sunday's story on May 11.

"He set out some matters for me and I just need to have a discussion with him about the nature of the response he gave me and we'll have a talk about the provisions of the register. I want to do that in person with him."

Sir Maarten said the two would meet next week. He would not say if Williamson had said he would add the phone to the register.

"My role is to provide advice and it's up to members to make the decisions themselves and that's what I abide by."

Williamson did not respond to requests for comment but has previously said Samsung contacted him through a public relations firm to offer him an "extended trial" of the phone.

"It will go back to Samsung and hence, no gift occurred."

An internal Samsung email showed Williamson inquired about the company "gifting" products to politicians. The email shows Williamson wanted a phone "urgently" before an overseas trip in May last year.

Meanwhile, after facing an attack from New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters for not declaring accommodation and transport provided by the Chinese Government during her visit there late last year, Justice Minister Judith Collins has added a string of overseas trips to her declaration on Parliament's Register of Pecuniary Interests.

In an update late last week, Ms Collins declared eleven official visits overseas including two each to China, Australia, the UK and Switzerland along with other trips to Austria, the United States and Singapore.

"The primary expenses relating to all of this travel were funded by the Crown", Ms Collins said in her declaration.

"Some accommodation, internal flights, ground transportation, facilitation and/or other incidental expenses were met by the host Government for myself and those travelling with me."

- Herald on Sunday

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